We collected schools of young, guarded by parents, of six common cichlid species to investigate the frequency and origin of interspecific brood-mixing. The main host species were a piscivore Lepidiolamprologus elongatus and a scale-eater Perissodus microlepis; more than half of their schools included heterospecific young, accounting for 20–40% of the total young. Most of the foreign young belonged to four biparental mouth-brooders whose parents have a habit of carrying their young in their mouths. Many of these young were smaller than the largest young brooded by their own parents. We concluded that adoption of young before independence results from farming-out, a behavior by which parents actively transfer their young to foster parents.
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Ochi, H., Yanagisawa, Y. Interspecific brood-mixing in Tanganyikan cichlids. Environ Biol Fish 45, 141–149 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00005227
- Biparental mouthbrooder
- Substrate brooder
- Alloparental care
- Lake Tanganyika